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8 Mobile Banking Innovations Africa Should Watch out for in 2015

Here are 8 Mobile Banking Innovations Africa Should Work on as we step into 2015

African banks have not done badly in mobile banking, particularly in the area of bill payment, funds transfer, secure payments, booking tickets, airtime recharge, and social banking.
Since mobile banking came to limelight, it has never stopped to be an interesting topic. Wearable Banking is going to challenge that in years ahead, though.

Mobile Banking Watch discovered eight banking innovations outside Africa that are already changing the face of banking which Africa banks can adopt, or modify to even better the already existing ones.
As we move into 2015, here are the mobile banking innovations I want to see African banks work on.
1. Fingerprint Logging

Let’s see the banking app designed in such a way that will securely recognise the fingerprint of its lawful account owner. Fingerprint sensor is a possibility which can be imbedded in the mobile app.
In this digital age, financial institutions are already thinking of years ahead so as to  bringing to table what’s already in existence in a new way (Apple Pay as a case study), or new thing that has never been tried.
Credit: Apple

If you think this isn’t possible, then try to follow Westpac mobile banking features on January2015. In the incoming year, Apple fingerprint and touch ID will be available for the lender’s customers which they can use to securely sign in to the bank’s new digital banking platform dubbed “Westpac Live” on their iPhone.
It will also be the first bank in the world to use fingerprint sign-in for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 4.
This is also a possibility in Africa. We’ve seen “Locate the nearest ATM/Branch” feature in Diamond Bank Mobile App. And other features on other banks’ app across the continent. Much still need be done
2. Common Banking Interface across Desktop, Laptop and Mobile Device

It sounds good if your online banking features could be integrated to accommodate what’s on mobile app. Bank customers want mobile apps that would better their experiences and usability…end-to-end experience and greater satisfaction when accessing their bank accounts via laptop, iPad, iPhone, and other banking devices.
If I could call the customer desk on desktop, while not also inside the mobile banking app via my device?
3. Virtual Assistants Via Voice Command

Already, Apple’s Siri recognises user’s voice. Command it to open an app and it will. A step ahead of that is: tell an app to pay, say “pay N20,000 to the power distribution company.
To Rohit Sharma, Head of Mobility Practice at Virtusa Corporation, “Apple’s personal voice assistant Siri is just the beginning, and soon we will see a number of new speech-enabled uses and applications for the banking industry.”
Rohit said voice provides a much deeper interaction mechanism than just typing or going to a particular screen on your phone app or online.
Using voice offers a paradigm shift in user interaction. We categorize this in the following natural language queries: transaction by voice, customer care through voice, information retrieval by voice and navigation by voice.”
Several banks in America are heading in that direction. So virtual assistant should be a new big thing African banks should be working on as we step into the 2015.
Interestingly, Vodacom has already launched a Voice Password which enables you to protect information on your device with your unique voice as your password.
If your bank doesn’t have the man power to design voice command, partnering with mobile firms, Telecommunication Company can make it a reality.
4. Call Centre Inside Mobile Apps

Swiftly responding to the enquiries of your customer will better her experience. What if your application recognises difficulty in user’s transaction, and by bringing up a “pop up” call centre feature to resolve issues? This is one of the ways that African banks can scale up financial services with lesser problem.
So you can incorporate contact centres software in your bank app to assist your customers, right on the phone, without having to log out of the app. A pop up customer agent, just has we’ve seen in the desktop computers for years is a possibility in Africa.
5. Cardless Cash Feature Inside Mobile Banking App

We’ve seen features like pay bill, buy airtime, locate the nearby ATM/branch, and other quick-access features inside mobile banking app, cardless cash access is a possibility.

And you know why?
This feature will be faster, easier, secure than using a card at an ATM. It will reduce the chances of losing ATM card.

How it works?

  • A user selects cardless cash accessinside the mobile banking app.

  • He or she designates an amount and an account.

  • She then goes to an Automated Teller Machine

  • She taps that same selection and a bar code appears on the screen.

  • The user scans the code with his or her smartphone, which is validated.

  • Finally, the ATM dispenses the requested cash.

Is that easy?

It’s easier said than done, but a co-founder of mobile payments company Paydiant Inc., Chris Gardner, said some financial institutions are already in a queue to offer their customers such easy and secure access to withdraw money, “We really believe this will become very big,” Chris predicted.

6. Banking New Services
If you like, call it “Advert Feature” inside the mobile banking app. Banks have new products and services from time to time.

To them the best places to reach out to their customers are through adverts on television, radio, internet, and placing pamphlets at strategic places inside the banking hall for customers to pick.

But mobile banking usage has increased beyond predictions, if there is another medium of reaching out to your customer, it’s via your banking app channel.
Banks will have to do it in a way that will not annoy their customers, or impede task on the app, considering the small screen size.

“While mobile marketing is in an early phase, the recognition is spreading that making the strategy work has to be solved,” CU Times said.

7. Mobile Photo Banking
How this works: snap a picture, input an amount and the day you want to pay it, and you are done.

Source: miteksystems


Adoption of Mobile Photo Bill is still slow in countries where it’s been used, but mobile banking watch believes that that shouldn’t discourage African banks from adopting it.

It’s banking revolution of bill payment. It eliminates the stress of manual data entry, a checkbook or even a computer, and saves payee information for future payments.

Mitek already has that technology, which “enables a bank customer or credit union member to easily and securely pay a bill with the snap of a smartphone or tablet camera. After a customer takes a picture of a bill, Mitek’s technology automatically extracts relevant data from the paper bill and auto-populates the fields required to make a mobile payment.” 

Simplicity, usability and security are three cardinal assurances customers want. Paying with a snap of lens will not only excite your customers, but also make you a voice in the banking world.

According to the data released by Allied and Mitek, “Since November 2011 when Allied introduced Picture Pay, which is driven by Mitek’s Mobile photo bill pay technology, the company has signed up 12 client community banks and credit unions. Those institutions are seeing month-over-month growth of 5 to 15% in bill payments with the solution.”

Allied Payment Network says photo bill increases growth in payment
President and CEO of Allied Payment Network, Ralph Marcuccilli, corroborated this, “One client credit union has seen growth rates as high 25% month-over-month in users and payments.”

Innovations have even gone beyond waiting for someone else to invent something before you start working.

“Users didn’t go through the trouble of setting up online bill pay for one payment, so those payments were being done by check. But now we’ve made it simple enough to start bringing those customers into digital payments,” Marcuccilli said.

8. Identification
You may also call it personalization. Is it not possible for the banking app to recognise the user, her interests?
It’s technical and tasking, right? But we are in the world of possibilities.

This reminds of a popular and unique advert by one of Nigerian banks before the merger that says, “One day, cars will run on water.”
It’s about thinking ahead, planning ahead of today’s challenges, and changing the world to a village of possibilities.

A firm that develops apps that predicts customer behaviors, Personetics Technologies, believes that, “Mobile banking app is very impersonal, and personalization will help create loyalty.”

Will it work?
Vice president of product management, Personetics Technologies, Ido Ophir, said, “But you already see the big banks moving towards a next gen app that will be highly personalized for each user.”

Recently, I had an enquiry concerning Access Bank’s AccessMoney, it was late in the night. And what did I do? I forwarded by question to the facebook page of the bank. And in few minutes I got all I wanted to know about AccessMoney.

 That’s just one of the conveniences of social banking, but 2015 is going to be a great year for financial institutions, and while Mobile Banking Watch doesn’t claim to have predictions how the year will be, the above mobile banking innovations will change the face of banking in Africa.

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  • Yes obviously due to the rapid increase in popularity of mobile banking applications, people started using their mobile devices for completing their online transactions. Since mobile banking system assists users to carry out many financial transactions through mobile deviceslike a mobile phone or a tablet as said so in http://goo.gl/6CpMMq. Hence a corrresponding effect we can feel in Africa too.

  • Hi, Sheryl Winwood.

    You’re right. Mobile phones and tablets have changed the way we banked, shopped, and thousands of other great stuffs we execute on our mobile devices on the go.

    Your article, “Trend of Mobile Banking Apps will Acquire Europe by 2018” says it all.
    But I want to quickly add that by that year, the number of mobile devices and tablets users will surpass the predictions we currently have, which also shows that mobile banking apps developers will have to think differently, by coming up with apps features which were impossible in 2014.

    Those wonderful creative minds behind mobile banking applications deserve commendation. Success of mobile banking will have today is incomplete without the contributions of great apps developers around the world. They’re even the success behind mobile banking.

    And I hope they’re not stopping at turning the impossibilities of yesterday to the possibilities of tomorrow and years ahead.

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